NEW YORK (Jul. 29)
Rabbi Henry Siegman, executive vice-president of the Synagogue Council of America, announced today that he will press a libel action against former Vice-President Spire T. Agnew for falsely attributing to him “malicious views” with regard to Israel’s treatment of Arabs in the occupied territories. Prof. Siegman said Alan Dershowitz of the Harvard University Law School will repre- sent him in the libel action.
Siegman referred to a newsletter titled “Memoranda,” published by Education for Democracy, a tax-exempt educational foundation recently acquired by Agnew and being used by him to disseminate anti-Israel, pro-Arab material. In an article titled “Mideast Time Bomb,” published in the first issue of “Memoranda,” Agnew claimed that Siegman “roundly criticized Israel for the treatment of Arabs living in the territories conquered in the 1967 war.”
In a statement issued today, Siegman said: “The statement attributed to me by Spiro Agnew is a total fabrication, a deliberate and malicious falsehood. The fact is that not only have I never said or written any such thing, but I have denounced those who have leveled such reckless charges against Israel….It is the height of malice to criticize Israel for alleged mistreatment of Arabs in the occupied territories when, in fact Israel–in the most trying of circumstances–has shown a regard for human and civil rights that is unheard of in the Arab states that are Agnew’s clients. Agnew’s attribution of such malicious views to me is false and libelous and I am taking steps to press a libel action against him.”
BREIRA RAPS AGNEW’S NEWSLETTER
In a related action, Breira, which describes itself as a pro-Israel organization that proposes alternative strategies for achieving Israeli security, strongly dissociated itself from the context of the article in “Memoranda” in which it was quoted. The article said that Breira “sent an open letter to Israeli leaders condemning the ‘unfortunate killings’ of Arabs in Galilee and deploring ‘violations of civil rights and loss of life’ on the West Bank.”
In a statement released today, Breira declared: “We unequivocally denounce such manipulation of responsible Jewish dissent. While we have been critical of some Israeli policies, the characterization of those policies as synonymous with ‘imperialism’–especially by one so close to the manipulation of global power–is no less absurd than similar Soviet and Chinese characterizations.” The Breira statement added, “Agnew’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish biases disqualify him as a responsible advocate for Middle East peace.”